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Matsushita licenses Apple's FireWire

The world's largest consumer electronics company licenses Apple's patented FireWire, or IEEE 1394, data-transfer technology.

Apple is helping Matsushita make the connection between computers and consumer electronics devices.

Apple said the world's largest consumer electronics company has licensed Apple's patented FireWire, or IEEE 1394, data-transfer technology.

Apple invented 1394 technology in the early 1990s, and it is now being aggressively adopted by Sony, Compaq, and others in home personal computers.

This is also being considered as the technology of choice for connecting a variety of future digital devices that will appear in the home such as cable TV set-top computers, consumer PCs, digital TVs, digital camcorders, and "kitchen" computers.

The fact that Matsushita is signing on is significant since the Japanese company is one of the largest makers of consumer electronics devices in the world.

Microsoft just recently introduced support for 1394 in the Windows 98 operating system, which could give this technology a shot in the arm. Also, many of the largest hard disk drive manufacturers are now developing 1394-based hard drives.

"FireWire is already the standard for digital camcorders, and we will see FireWire-based computers, cameras, printers, and scanners hit the mainstream in 1999," Jon Rubinstein, Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering, said in a statement.